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Supporters Travel Club Opens Up Doors

04/07/2014 Supporters Travel Club Opens Up Doors

Liam Burns, Community Development Officer with Dundalk FC, along with members of the squad, recently visited RehabCare Resource Centre in Carroll Village, Dundalk for a Q&A session with the members of the Dundalk FC Supporters Travel Club.

For the past numbers of years the people who use the services provided by RehabCare have been members of the Dundalk FC Supporters Travel Club, an initiative which came about when Stephen Caraher, a programme facilitator with RehabCare realised that a number of the members had a great interest in football. At the recent visit, Liam and the players learnt firsthand what a difference the travel club is making to the lives of some of their loyal supporters.

Stephen Caraher explains about how it all started. “I knew that some of the lads who use our services had a big interest in soccer, so I introduced them to Margaret and Tony Curtis, organisers of the Dundalk FC Supporters Travel Club. To be honest, when I first encouraged them to join I didn’t realise just how much it would do for them, in terms of opening up a whole new world to them. Of course it helps when Dundalk are doing so well, but they have been following the team through the lean times as well like when they were in the first division. Our lads have travelled all over Ireland to support the team.”

“The members of the Supporters Travel Club have really helped our service users to integrate into the community. It’s a social occasion for them. Before the game they meet up and go to the cinema, then go have something to eat before heading to the game be it at home or away. Margaret and Tony Curtis have made our service users really welcome since day one and they play a big part in making the trips as enjoyable as possible for the lads.”

RehabCare’s New Directions programme helps people to integrate more into their local community by supporting them to linking into local projects or to join clubs. The Dundalk FC Supporters Travel Club was the perfect fit for those interested in soccer. Darren Belton is just one of the people who use RehabCare’s services who is also a member of the travel club. He said, “It’s a great way of seeing places that I haven’t been to before and it’s a great way of improving my social life. I got to go to Derry for the first time last week to see Dundalk play Derry in the Brandywell.”

It’s not only the Supporters Travel Club part of Dundalk FC that has helped the people who use RehabCare’s services in the town. Recently, in front of a crowd of 3,400 spectators, Peter Paul McShane had the honour of leading out the Dundalk and St Patrick’s Athletic teams onto the pitch before their game. He said, “I was really proud to do this. I got to meet the players and managers of the teams. I got a signed jersey and they even gave me free food and drink after the game!” This opportunity came about through RehabCare’s Enabling Excellence programme which supports people to achieve the best possible life that they can achieve with the support of the staff and their family and friends.

In partnership with the Health Service Executive, RehabCare provides a wide range of high-quality services in County Louth with almost 100 people accessing its two resource centres located in the Quayside and Carroll Village in Dundalk. Programmes are developed around the needs of the service users through their person-centred plan and can include supports in relation to independent living, personal development, community integration and employment in the community.

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